Behind-the-scenes video shows the laser-focus and hard work that keeps fans supplied with ice-cold draft beer at Japanese baseball stadiums.
There’s something special about seeing a baseball game live at the stadium. Sure, you could watch it on TV, but the velocity of a fastball, the crack of a bat, and the energy of the crowd all feel so much more intense when you’re where the action is happening.
Oh, and if you’re in Japan you can also look forward to the beer girls, cheerful vendors who roam the stands with keg backpacks, dispensing ice cold draft beer so that customers can get their buzz going without ever leaving their seats.
▼ A beer girl, hard at work in Nagoya Dome
Of course, with thousands of fans in attendance, that keg isn’t going to last the entire game. Once it runs dry, the vendor makes her way back to a staging area, where other concession employees resupply her with the urgency and efficiency of an F-1 pit crew getting a racing machine and its driver back out on the track.
明治神宮野球場（公式） (@jingu_stadiumpr) August 24, 2017
The above video was shared by the official Twitter account for Tokyo’s Meiji Jingu Stadium, located not far from the Harajuku fashion district and home of the Tokyo Yakult Swallows professional baseball team. The beer girls back themselves up to a counter, where the refilling team is waiting. As one member detaches the empty keg from the vendor’s harness and hooks up a fresh one, another worker comes by to top off her supply of cups into which to pour customer’s orders, as well as brings her a cup of water to rehydrate herself with (it can get pretty hot at the baseball stadium, after all).
The whole process takes less than 30 seconds, and the second girl in the video is headed back out just 14 seconds after she comes in for resupplying. If you’re wondering if all that urgency is really necessary, it is, as on a busy night a single vendor can need as many as 15 refills during a game’s nine innings, and with dozens of vendors working the crowd time is of the essence.
Of course, the other side to this story is that once those vendors head back out, they’ve got heavy kegs strapped to their backs as they walk up and down the rows of the stadium. As always in Japan, there’s no tipping either, so be sure to give them a heartfelt “Thank you” when they hand you your beer.
Follow Casey on Twitter, where he’s happy to see both the Yokohama Baystars and the Hiroshima Carp doing well this season.